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“This Is Bad Advice”: Why Dale Earnhardt Jr. Struggled in NASCAR Despite Cleaning up His Act

Gowtham Ramalingam

“This Is Bad Advice”: Why Dale Earnhardt Jr. Struggled in NASCAR Despite Cleaning up His Act

High performance athletes, particularly in motorsports, are required to maintain a level of sophistication when it comes to eating and drinking habits. The responsibility to maintain a basic level of self-care is dictated by the teams in NASCAR for drivers to perform well on the race track and to help with the public outlook on the team and its sponsors. However, it isn’t always that the drivers abide by these instructions. Racing icon Dale Earnhardt Jr. certainly did not.

Talking on a recent episode of “Dale Jr. Download”, the former Hendrick Motorsports driver revealed how paradoxically he couldn’t perform well on Sundays if he did not let steam off during the weekdays.

“This is bad advice,” he warned and continued how being the carefree person that he is helped with his results in the car. “I tried cleaning up a bit when I started racing for Hendrick. Some of the people in the building were like, ‘Jimmie’s in great shape! Look at what he does. You should be doing these things.’ I was like, ‘Jimmie is Jimmie, but okay…'”

Revealing the results of his efforts at abstaining from alcohol, he ruled that it did nothing to help with his points on the board. “And then, I’d go party with my buddies on a Tuesday night and we’d damn kick a** on the race weekend,” he said. Pondering on how things worked differently than the norm for him, he considered the idea of him being one of the Old Guards who needed to drink and smoke cigarettes to win.

How Dale Earnhardt Sr. helped his son get over the hate for beer

Despite it becoming one of his favorite beverages that went as far as helping with victories on the track, Dale Jr. wasn’t always fond of beer. In a 2022 episode of Dale Jr. Download, he revealed an incident in which his father, the legendary Dale Earnhardt Sr., forced him to drink beer.

When he first signed a deal with his then-sponsor Budweiser, he had to go to a fancy dinner at the Busch household along with his father. On the way to the dinner, it struck him that he had to drink beer after finishing his meal. He narrated, “I said to dad on the way there, I said, ‘Am I gonna have to drink a beer at this dinner?'”

“And he’s like, ‘Get you a Bud heavy, and you sit there and you drink that beer.’ And I was like, ‘Man, alright.’ And so I did. And over time, everybody used to say it’s an acquired taste, and that’s what it is.” Dale Jr. has become quite the spokesperson for it since.

About the author

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham Ramalingam

Gowtham is a NASCAR journalist at The SportsRush. Though his affinity for racing stems from Formula 1, he found himself drawn to NASCAR's unparalleled excitement over the years. As a result he has shared his insights and observations by authoring over 350 articles on the sport. An avid fiction writer, you can find him lost in imaginary worlds when he is not immersed in racing. He hopes to continue savoring the thrill of every lap and race together with his readers for as long as he can.

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